on Daniel 12 :13
But go thou thy way till the end be - Here is proper advice for every man.
1. Thou hast a way - a walk in life, which God has assigned thee; walk in that way, it is thy way.
2. There will be an end to thee of all earthly things. Death is at the door, and eternity is at hand; go on to the end - be faithful unto death.
3. There is a rest provided for the people of God. Thou shalt rest; thy body, in the grave; thy soul, in the Divine favor here, and finally in paradise.
4. As in the promised land there was a lot for each of God's people, so in heaven there is a lot for thee. Do not lose it, do not sell it, do not let thy enemy rob thee of it. Be determined to stand in thy own lot at the end of the days. See that thou keep the faith; die in the Lord Jesus, that thou mayest rise and reign with him to all eternity. Amen.
Number of verses in this book, 357
Middle verse, Daniel 5:30
Masoretic sections, 7
Finished correcting for the press, March 1st, 1831. - A. C.
on Daniel 12 :13
But go thou thy way until the end be - See Daniel 12:4, Daniel 12:9. The meaning is, that nothing more would be communicated, and that he must wait for the disclosures of future times. When that should occur which is here called "the end," he would understand this more fully and perfectly. The language implies, also, that he would be present at the development which is here called "the end;" and that then he would comprehend clearly what was meant by these revelations. This is such language as would be used on the supposition that the reference was to far-distant times, and to the scenes of the resurrection and the final judgment, when Daniel would be present. Compare the notes at Daniel 12:2-3.
For thou shalt rest - Rest now; and perhaps the meaning is, shalt enjoy a long season of repose before the consummation shall occur. In Daniel 12:2, he had spoken of those who "sleep in the dust of the earth;" and the allusion here would seem to be the same as applied to Daniel. The period referred to was far distant. Important events were to intervene. The affairs of the world were to move on for ages before the "end"' should come. There would be scenes of revolution, commotion, and tumult - momentous changes before that consummation would be reached. But during that long interval Daniel would "rest." He would quietly and calmly "sleep in the dust of the earth" - in the grave. He would be agitated by none of these troubles - disturbed by none of these changes, for he would peacefully slumber in the hope of being awaked in the resurrection. This also is such language as would be employed by one who believed in the doctrine of the resurrection, and who meant to say that he with whom he was conversing would repose in the tomb while the affairs of the world would move on in the long period that would intervene between the time when he was then speaking and the "end" or consummation of all things - the final resurrection. I do not see that it is possible to explain the language on any other supposition than this. The word rendered "shalt rest" - תנוּח tânûach - would be well applied to the rest in the grave. So it is used in Job 3:13, "Then had I been at rest;" Job 3:17, "There the weary be at rest."
And stand in thy lot - In thy place. The language is derived from the lot or portion which falls to one - as when a lot is cast, or anything is determined by lot. Compare Judges 1:3; Isaiah 57:6; Psalm 125:3; Psalm 16:5. Gesenius (Lexicon) renders this, "And arise to thy lot in the end of days; i. e., in the Messiah's kingdom." Compare Revelation 20:6. The meaning is, that he need have no apprehension for himself as to the future. That was not now indeed disclosed to him; and the subject was left in designed obscurity. He would "rest," perhaps a long time, in the grave. But in the far-distant future he would occupy ills appropriate place; he would rise from his rest; he would appear again on the stage of action; he would have the lot and rank which properly belonged to him. What idea this would convey to the mind of Daniel it is impossible now to determine, for he gives no statement on that point; but it is clear that it is such language as would be appropriately used by one who believed in the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, and who meant to direct the mind onward to those far-distant and glorious scenes when the dead would all arise, and when each one of the righteous would stand up in his appropriate place or lot.
At the end of the days - After the close of the periods referred to, when the consummation of all things should take place. It is impossible not to regard this as applicable to a resurrection from the dead; and there is every reason to suppose that Daniel would so understand it, for
(a) if it be interpreted as referring to the close of the persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanes, it must be so understood. This prophecy was uttered about 534 years b.c. The death of Antiochus occurred 164 b.c. The interval between the prophecy and that event was, therefore, 370 years. It is impossible to believe that it was meant by the angel that Daniel would continue to live during all that time, so that he should then "stand in his lot," not having died; or that he did continue to live during all that period, and that at the end of it he "stood in his lot," or occupied the post of distinction and honor which is referred to in this language. But if this had been the meaning, it would have implied that he would, at that time, rise from the dead.
(b) If it be referred, as Gesenius explains it, to the times of the Messiah, the same thing would follow - for that time was still more remote; and, if it be supposed that Daniel understood it as relating to those times, it must also be admitted that he believed that there would be a resurrection, and that he would then appear in his proper place.
(c) There is only one other supposition, and that directly involves the idea that the allusion is to the general resurrection, as referred to in Daniel 12:3, and that Daniel would have part in that. This is admitted by Lengerke, by Maurer, and even by Bertholdt, to be the meaning, though he applies it to the reign of the Messiah. No other interpretation, therefore, can be affixed to this than that it implies the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, and that the mind of Daniel was directed onward to that. With this great and glorious doctrine the book appropriately closes. The hope of such a resurrection was fitted to soothe the mind of Daniel in view of all the troubles which he then experienced, and of all the darkness which rested on the future, for what we most want in the troubles and in the darkness of the present life is the assurance that, after having "rested" in the grave - in the calm sleep of the righteous - we shall "awake" in the morning of the resurrection, and shall "stand in our lot" - or in our appropriate place, as the acknowledged children of God, "at the end of days" - when time shall be no more, and when the consummation of all things shall have arrived.
In reference to the application of this prophecy, the following general remarks may be made:
I. One class of interpreters explain it literally as applicable to Antiochus Epiphanes. Of this class is Prof. Stuart, who supposes that its reference to Antiochus can be shown in the following manner: "The place which this passage occupies shows that the terminus a quo, or period from which the days designated are to be reckoned, is the same as that to which reference is made in the previous verse. This, as we have already seen, is the period when Antiochus, by his military agent Apollonius, took possession of Jerusalem, and put a stop to the temple worship there. The author of the first book of Maccabees, who is allowed by all to deserve credit as an historian, after describing the capture of Jerusalem by the agent of Antiochus (in the year 145 of the Seleucidae - 168 b.c.), and setting before the reader the widespread devastation which ensued, adds, respecting the invaders: 'They shed innocent blood around the sanctuary, and defiled the holy place; and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fled away: the sanctuary thereof was made desolate; her feasts were turned into mourning, her sabbaths into reproach, and her honor into disgrace;' 1 Macc. 1:37-39. To the period when this state of things commenced we must look, then, in order to find the date from which the 1335 days are to be reckoned. Supposing now that Apollonius captured Jerusalem in the latter part of May, 168 b.c., the 1335 days would expire about the middle of February, in the year 164 b.c. Did any event take place at this period which would naturally call forth the congratulations of the prophet, as addressed in the text before us to the Jewish people?
"History enables us to answer this question. Late in the year 165 b.c., or at least very early in the year 164 b.c., Antiochus Epiphanes, learning that there were great insurrections and disturbances in Armenia and Persia, hastened thither with a portion of his armies, while the other portion was commissioned against Palestine. He was victorious for a time; but being led by cupidity to seek for the treasures that were laid up in the temple of the Persian Diana at Elymais, he undertook to rifle them. The inhabitants of the place, however, rose en masse and drove him out of the city; after which he fled to Ecbatana. There he heard of the total discomfiture by Judas Maccabeus of his troops in Palestine, which were led on by Micanor and Timotheus. In the rage occasioned by this disappointment, he uttered the most horrid blasphemies against the God of the Jews, and threatened to make Jerusalem the burying-place of the nation. Immediately he directed his course toward Judea; and designing to pass through Babylon, he made all possible haste in his journey. In the meantime he had a fall from his chariot which injured him; and soon after, being seized with a mortal sickness in his bowels (probably the cholera), he died at Tabae, in the mountainous country, near the confines of Babylonia and Persia. Report stated, even in ancient times, that Antiochus was greatly distressed on his death-bed by the sacrilege which he had committed.
"Thus perished the most bitter and bloody enemy which ever rose up against the Jewish nation and their worship. By following the series of events, it is easy to see that his death took place some time in February of the year 164 b.c. Assuming that the commencement or terminus a quo of the 1335 days is the same as that of the 1290 days, it is plain that they terminate at the period when the death of Antiochus is said to have taken place. 'It was long before the commencement of the spring,' says Froelich, 'that Antiochus passed the Euphrates, and made his attack on Elymais: so that no more probable time can be fixed upon for his death than at the expiration of the 1335 days; i. e., some time in February of 164 b.c. No wonder that the angel pronounced those of the pious and believing Jews to be blessed who lived to see such a day of deliverance." - Hints on Prophecy, pp. 95-97.
There are, however, serious and obvious difficulties in regard to this view, and to the supposition that this is all that is intended here - objections and difficulties of so much force that most Christian interpreters have supposed that something further was intended. Among these difficulties and objections are the following:
(a) The air of mystery which is thrown over the whole matter by the angel, as if he were reluctant to make the communication; as if something more was meant than the words expressed; as if he shrank from disclosing all that he knew, or that might be said. If it referred to Antiochus alone, it is difficult to see why so much mystery was made of it, and why he was so unwilling to allude further to the subject - as if it were something that did not pertain to the matter in hand.
(b) The detached and fragmentary character of what is here said. It stands aside from the main communication. It is uttered after all that the angel had intended to reveal had been said. It is brought out at the earnest request of Daniel, and then only in hints, and in enigmatical language, and in such a manner that it would convey no distinct conception to his mind. This would seem to imply that it referred to something else than the main point that had been under consideration.
on Daniel 12 :13